Sagicor Sigma Run targets $60m
The Sagicor Foundation, through this year’s staging of its Sagicor Sigma Corporate Run, is hoping to raise $60 million which will be shared by three beneficiaries that provide care and support for Jamaica’s children.
The beneficiaries are Bethlehem Home, which cares for abandoned children and babies; Mandeville Regional Hospital Paediatric Unit; and Spanish Town Hospital Paediatric Unit.
Now in its 19th year, the event was officially launched yesterday morning at Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston under the theme ‘Run for the fun, donate for the cause’.
It is scheduled for Sunday, February 19, commencing at 7:30 am and is being held under the patronage of World and Olympic champion Yohan Blake, international recording artiste Tessanne Chin, and founder of Missionaries Of the Poor Father Richard Ho Lung.
“The Southern Regional Health Authority and the staff of the Mandeville Regional Hospital, particularly the paediatric department, have deemed the hospital privileged to be a beneficiary of this magnificent event, which will improve our ability to serve the youngest of our clients,” Mandeville Regional Hospital CEO Alwyn Miller stated.
Representatives of Spanish Town Hospital and Bethlehem Home also expressed appreciation to Sagicor for choosing them as beneficiaries.
“Since the first corporate run in 1999, we’ve continued to make an impact in the healthcare of our children. In 2016, we raised and donated over $35 million in cash to three beneficiaries — Black River Paediatric Unit, kids with cancer and the Jamaica Cancer Society,” president and CEO of Sagicor Group Richard Byles stated in his remarks.
“To achieve our target of $60 million we need everyone’s support, and it can’t be raised by the event itself, so the event will raise a certain sum… We have to find other ways to raise the funds and so we have come up with some novel and interesting ways,” Byles told guests at the launch.
He stated that the organisation will be making use of pledge cards as well as donation booklets which members of the team will be handing out to aid in donation efforts, as well as other internal fund-raising activities.
People can also make donations via
generosity.com, which can be directly accessed from the Sagicor website, Byles explained, and added that a Sigma Run app will be available for people to track their progress in terms of preparation before the race and on the day of the race, as well as register for the run.
According to Gina Harrison, co-race director, the event will also be offering a “preferred start” for those participants who want a competitive edge. She explained that they are offering 250 special bibs for runners as well as 250 for walkers who will be specially placed up front for the race. Participants who wish to get a preferred start will have to first register, then contact the Sagicor Secretariat and pay $1,000.
She added that there was also an ‘e-waiver’ registration system for teams to register online, specifically each individual team member (over the age of 18), in order to reduce the administrative load and minimise errors.
Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton, in his address, lauded Sagicor Foundation and said that the event is a worthy cause, not only because of what it has done for the public health sector, but for its role in helping to promote the importance of taking personal responsibility for one’s health.
“When you look at the health profile of Jamaica, 70 per cent of deaths are caused by non-communicable diseases and non-communicable diseases are essentially about lifestyle; so it’s about physical inactivity, not exercising enough and about diet,” Tufton stated.
He noted that the culture of Jamaica is one where too much focus is placed on curative rather than preventative measures as Jamaicans most times wait until a discovered ailment is in advanced stages before seeking treatment. He added that events such as the Sagicor Sigma Run therefore help to promote the importance of preventative measures by encouraging physical activity.
Registration for the run is now officially open and will close on February 7. Information on how to register can be found on Sagicor Group Jamaica’s website.
— Javene Skyers